Economy Minister Naftali Bennett warned on Wednesday that relinquishing Israeli control of the West Bank would expose Israel’s home front to infiltration tunnels leading into the heartland of Israel.
In a statement he released marking nine years since Israel’s rooting out of its settlements in the Gaza Strip, Bennett said that the disengagement had taught Israel that “he who runs from terror has terror chase after him, and that those who chase after terror will live in security.”
Bennett said the disengagement from Gaza and its consequences, as seen in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, shed light on the implications of the founding of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.
“I learned that a Palestinian state will destroy the Israeli economy,” Bennett claimed.
“It will destroy tourism, business and commerce,” he said, adding that a Palestinian state would not only hurt Israel’s security, but also isolate the Jewish state diplomatically.
Bennett gave the example of the United States deciding to cancel air travel to Israel during Operation Protective Edge as a scenario that could repeat itself should Israel give up control of the West Bank.
“What one rocket fired at Yehud from Gaza succeeded in doing is liable to be duplicated by an anti-aircraft missile from Samaria, 6 km. from Ben-Gurion Airport, perhaps even a shoulder-launched missile. In this case [the airport] would be shut down for more than just two days.”
Bennett said that the tunnel threat from Gaza that was revealed during Operation Protective Edge would also repeat itself from the West Bank.
“What a tunnel from Gaza did not succeed in doing, a tunnel into Kfar Saba or Route 6 will accomplish,” he warned.
“We have a country that has seen amazing development in 67 years, 50 of them with Judea and Samaria. We won’t let everything be destroyed because of messianic fantasies of peace with murderers.”
Meanwhile, Bennett’s fellow security cabinet member, Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) criticized the international community for taking what he said was a simplistic view of the operation in the Gaza Strip.
“I don’t accuse intellectuals of bias or of anti-Semitism, but too many of them are certainly guilty of intellectual laziness,” Lapid wrote in the Huffington Post. “Too many American and European intellectuals have taken moral relativism to its absurd extreme, falling back upon the ‘validity of every narrative’ and repeating the mantra that ‘every story has two sides.’ They treat those who have a clear moral stance as primitive. For them, if you take a moral stand or choose a side in a conflict you must lack the necessary tolerance to ‘see the other side.’” He complained about Western intellectuals who believe that because the Palestinians are suffering more, they must be right.
“They have turned suffering into the only measure of justice,” Lapid wrote. “Hamas, of course, is acutely aware of the weakness of many Western intellectuals and treats them as a tool in its propaganda war. There is significant intelligence information – not only in the hands of Israeli intelligence – which shows that Hamas believes, theologically, that there is no barrier to sacrificing the lives of the children of Gaza to garner sympathy in the Western media. Those who are aware of the intelligence also know how the Hamas sees Western intellectuals who buy into their gruesome propaganda – they are a tool, to be used and to be mocked.”